Due to the ongoing pandemic, crisis communication became a part of the job description for external and internal communications professionals, which has led to plenty of different difficulties for employees whose job roles are constantly shifting. Fortunately, there are several ways that organizations can strengthen their crisis communication responses for the coming year, that include different forms of communication, virtual tools, and of course, plenty of empathy.
In the past few months, there has been a noticeable shift from the traditional B2C and B2B communication, towards P2P (person to person) communication, because of the pandemic. As a result of this worldwide crisis, consumers expect a lot more from the technology they use. Because of that, companies have had to change how they deliver products, services, and experiences to their target audiences, and the public now expects to receive information directly from brands through their preferred communications channels.
Because of technology, the public knows a lot more about the products or services it wants to purchase. This has led to target audiences having much higher expectations from brands on different communication channels. In terms of brand communication, the biggest priority for the public is the brands they like have to be transparent with their audiences. This also impacts crisis communications, as audiences are expecting transparent communication from these brands during a crisis as well.
The US elections and its aftermath had many P2P communications, with millions of people sharing their feelings and thoughts on social media platforms. Everyone is looking to talk, but talking should also mean a lot of listening too. The first thing that should be happening during any crisis is listening as, most of the time, the public isn’t looking for a fast or an easy solution – instead, it’s looking to be heard. Companies should realize that their audiences need to be heard during a crisis to have an easier time navigating those situations.
Planning different crisis scenarios and approaching different situations is still the best way for businesses to prepare for any crisis because understanding the potential consequences and situations is the first step in preparing a strong response. However, with everyone working in nearly a completely virtual world, using different tools such as Microsoft Teams, One Drive, or Zoom means utilizing those same tools during a crisis and planning for a crisis. Creating a process with roles, responsibilities, and accountability when communicating with the internal team and the public using these tools is very easy for companies. It makes navigating a crisis a lot smoother.
Overcoming a crisis means matching what the company is saying to what it’s doing. When these two elements are aligned, the organization can begin to earn back its trust and loyalty from the public. Businesses need to be authentic and empathetic during a crisis and work on these two things every day to make sure the public knows what the company stands for no matter the situation.
Strong crisis communications firms include 5WPR and Sitrick.
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